INTERVIEW by Claudia Dreifus


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 A remarkable teach-by-example collection of interviews that shatters the popular myth, at least among practicing journalists, that the question-and-answer format is the telltale sign of a lazy writer. It doesn't take more than a few pages into journalist Dreifus's collection to see why she has risen to the rank of ``interviewer of choice'' for the venerable New York Times Sunday Magazine after cutting her teeth with publications such as Playboy (where she was a regular interviewer for over ten years), Premiere, Modern Maturity, and the Progressive (all the pieces here first appeared in these publications). Witty, gutsy, wily, Dreifus knows both how to get her man or woman and then how to lure them into revealing emotions and thoughts usually reserved for one's closest friends. Dreifus discusses the art behind good Q&As in her introduction, where she notes, among other points, the necessity of good preparation and the complicit seduction that must take place- -on the part of the interviewer and the interviewee--for things to really sizzle. The interviews themselves, in many cases expanded from the original, provide marvelous examples of her art in action. In the chapter called ``Saints,'' for instance, the Dalai Lama admits to dreaming about sex and to a fascination with tanks, warships, and German U-boats. In her interview with former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Dreifus compels Bhutto to defend her record on women's reforms. Others who alternately squirm and schmooze with Dreifus include actor Richard Dreyfuss, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman John Shalikashvili, ACLU president Nadine Strossen, and gay congressman Barney Frank. Infinitely more than just a how-to for writers or journalist wannabes. Expertly written, these minidramas will rivet anyone interested in human nature and the intricacies of how people communicate. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 20th, 1997
ISBN: 1-888363-42-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Seven Stories
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997


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